When you've got one of the best web hosting services, you can rest easy knowing that your website and data are safe, leaving you free to focus on more creative endeavours. The best web hosting is easy to set up, works seamlessly and, most of all, doesn't cost the earth. But how do you choose between the countless web hosting providers, not to mention all the different hosting packages they offer?
The web hosting business is full of marketing spin, confusing jargon and sometimes borderline misinformation, making it tough to decide between services. So to save you the hassle, this article brings together the best web hosting providers of 2021, all in one post.
To find the one that's right for you, you need to know what kind of hosting you're looking for. If you’re not sure, first read our guide to the different types of hosting below. And to make running a website even easier, don't miss our guide to the best website builder services too.
Today's very best web hosting services
01. Bluehost – the best web hosting for beginners
Bluehost is the best web hosting service if you're new to web hosting. This provider offers an easy interface, superior customer support, and robust analytics and SEO tools. And right now, you can get all of this for less!
02. Hostinger – the best cheap web hosting - up to 67% off
Hostinger's cloud hosting keeps your data super-safe with its data centres spread across the globe. It's excellent value for money, too. Right now, there's even up to 67% off cloud hosting plans!
03. Hostgator – the best shared web hosting provider
Shared hosting keeps costs low, and Hostgator does this really well. With its support, a free domain name, unlimited email addresses and a website builder, it's excellent value for money.
The best web hosting services of 2021 in full
Bluehost is the best web hosting service for beginners. Its interface is very easy to understand and use. Its customer support, via phone, email or live chat, is friendly, approachable and helpful. If you want to delve deeper into your website’s performance there are some good analytics and SEO tools to help you out. And overall, you simply get a great, all-round, reliable service.
It's also worth noting that Bluehost offers the best website hosting for WordPress sites. Depending on the plan you choose, Bluehost will install your WordPress software either automatically or in one click, saving you a lot of messing about. If you already have a WordPress.org site with another host, you can transfer it for free within 30 days of signing up. And if your site/s involve a large amount of traffic and complexity, Bluehost's managed WordPress hosting options are pretty impressive too.
The main thing you need to watch with Bluehost is that like many hosting companies, the attractive low prices you start with tend to jump up after a period of time (at the moment, three years). The ecommerce plans, in particular, seem a little on the pricey side. For more details, read our full Bluehost review.
If 2020 taught us anything, it was that no business is immune from global events. And so if you have a large-scale project on the go, spreading your web hosting over multiple regions is likely to be a smart play. For that we'd recommend Hostinger, which boasts: "The power of cloud computing with simplicity of shared hosting".
With data centres are spread across several countries (United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Lithuania, Singapore, Brazil, Indonesia and India), your data is super-secure. The cheapest cloud hosting plan starts at $29 per month, although there are sometimes deals available (right now there's up to 67% off!). There are also cheaper shared web hosting plans available.
There are three cloud hosting plans: Startup, Professional, and Enterprise, each offering good levels of speed and scalability, as well as automated updates, daily backups, and free dedicated IP. Sign up for a year, and you’ll also get a Lifetime SSL certificate, Cloudflare protection, unlimited email accounts and a free domain.
In general, Hostinger isn't a great place to head for advanced features or managed plans, but for cheap and cheerful, basic cloud services it's one of the best. For more details, read our full Hostinger review.
Shared hosting is the kind of hosting most website owners will want to choose, because it's by far the most economical. And our pick as the best shared hosting provider is Hostgator.
Hostgator offers first-class uptime, performance and customer support in general. But its shared plans are particularly great value, as not only are they super-cheap, but you'll also get a free domain, free SSL certificate, $100 of AdWords and Bing credits, unlimited free email addresses, and a website builder that includes 100+ mobile-friendly templates and an image library.
While many hosting providers' pricing plans are complex and confusing, Hostgator has just three shared hosting plans, and it's simple to understand the differences between them. In a nutshell, for an ecommerce store, you need Business; otherwise pick Hatchling to host a single domain, or Baby for more than one domain.
On the downside, the higher level plans at Hostgator are less price competitive, and even with the shared plans, there's that pesky price hike a year later to factor in. For more details, check out our full Hostgator review.
VPS hosting is pricier than shared hosting, but you get finer control and greater bandwidth for your money. And our pick of the providers here is InMotion. Although its VPS plans are not the cheapest on the market, we’d argue that they’re the best value overall, with some impressive specs on offer.
For example, on the cheapest managed VPS hosting plan you get 4GB RAM, 75GB SSD storage, 4TB bandwidth, three dedicated IPs, free SSLs, a cPanel and WHM for just $17.99 a month. InMotion also offers dedicated Sysadmin support to expedite your data migration and server setup, and a choice of optimisations depending on whether your sites are based on PHP or WordPress. And all plans include 100% SSD servers, giving you 20X speeds, and live-state snapshots, allowing you to roll back your server to any time period.
On the whole, InMotion costs a bit more than most hosting providers but offers more in return, so if you want more than a basic site, it's well worth investigating. For more details see our full InMotion review.
There are many reasons you might be expecting to lean on technical support when setting up and managing your website hosting, whether you're a manager of multiple sites with complex needs, or a freelance web developer who doesn't want to spent time figuring out problems when you could be build sites for clients. Either way, you'll be less concerned about finding the absolute cheapest web hosting and more focused on getting the best possible tech support. In which case, we'd recommend Siteground.
This web hosting provider is known for its approachable, helpful and capable support, offered through a wide variety of channels, including chatbots, phone, email, live chat and tickets. Calls are answered quickly, and tickets receive a first reply within 15 minutes on average.
Siteground has plenty else to recommend it too, most notably its high uptime and speeds. If data security is important to you, you can choose which geographical region your servers are based in. It's a great choice for users of WooCommerce or WordPress, and there are some smart features for web developers as well, such as being able to create Git repositories. On the downside, it's not the cheapest host around, and there isn't a lot of handholding for beginners. For more details, check out our full Siteground review.
Dedicated hosting is the Rolls Royce of hosting, where you're spending a considerable amount of cash, and want a high-spec service and powerful customisation tools in return. And for that, we recommend Hostwinds.
With Hostwinds’ dedicated hosting, which starts at $87.50 a month, every server is fully managed, so boring tasks such as sys admin duties, server monitoring and nightly backups are taken off your hands. Conversely, you have a huge amount of scope to tweak your setup. For example, servers can be fitted with any combination of SSD or SATA drives you choose, and you can choose between many different Windows and/or Linux operating systems.
In business, time is money, and so the best managed hosting is well worth paying for. Luckily though, Liquid Web is not only the best in this field, but not even much more costly than the average.
In a space where marketing waffle abounds, we love that they make specific promises, and stick to them. For instance, when it comes to tech support, Liquid Web guarantees a response within 59 seconds on phone or live chat, and within 59 minutes on email. It also commits to a 30-minute hardware replacement and 100% network uptime. That in itself isn't unusual, but here's what is... if you do have downtime, they'll credit you 1,000% the amount of time you were affected.
With specialised solutions for managing email, WordPress, WooCommerce and a whole host of other cloud products, this is a managed hosting provider you can depend on. And really, what more could anyone ask for?
There's no such thing as getting something for nothing, right? Well, we were astounded to discover that in the field of hosting, there actually is. Byethost offers hosting that's absolutely free.
Byethost provides you with 5GB of web space space and 24/7 tech support via its internal ticketing system. You can install WordPress, PrestaShop, Joomla and other platforms using the Softaculous app. You even get a website builder, a free domain (ending in byethost.com), and five email addresses.
As you'd expect, this isn't the most sophisticated or feature-rich web hosting. Most notably, your site is limited to 50,000 hits a day. The interface is not very easy to use. And your site might take a little longer to appear on visitors' screens than with other hosting providers. But if you just want to host a small site that won't get a ton of visitors, then you can't really argue with 'free'.
What are the different types of web hosting services?
There are several types of web hosting, but the vast majority of website owners use shared hosting because it's the cheapest. With shared hosting, your site is stored on the same server as a lot of other sites, leading to economies of scale and low prices. It's invariably the best choice for beginners or owners of small, low-traffic websites.
If, however, you own or manage a large and complex website, or a group of websites, and you expect to experience big spikes in traffic, or high traffic overall, you should avoid shared hosting. It probably won’t allow enough bandwidth for you to provide a reliable service to your users, who may find your site loads slowly, or not at all, as a result.
The next step up from shared hosting is VPS hosting. Here, your site still shares space on a server, but with fewer other sites than with shared hosting. That means you get more bandwidth, your site will load more quickly, and you’ll have better security, as well as more fine control over how your plan works.
Up from there is dedicated hosting, where you get an entire server to yourself. This is best suited to anyone looking to build complex, high traffic websites, and costs rise accordingly. If you don’t like the implications of relying on just one server, which could be shut down due to natural disasters or local political action, then you want cloud hosting. Cloud hosting spreads your website data across a number of different servers, usually around the world, for better security and reliability.
Finally, the more advanced your needs, the more challenging hosting becomes to manage. To release you from the mundane tasks around site maintenance, managed hosting means you pay the hosting company to handle all the setup, administration, management, and support, so you don't have to.